Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 - The year in (good) TV shows

I could claim that I had a lot of time to watch TV because of the lockdown... but honestly, I watch a lot of TV anyway, so it is not exactly anything out of the ordinary. I'll just own up to it:

I watched 101 TV series this year,
out of those I finished 73,
and 7 of them were re-watching binges.

New favorites
(In no particular order)

Brave new world - I admit, I have not read the book. I'm sure it is better than the adaptation, but with the lack of comparison I really enjoyed the show. Good actors, good world building, and while the moral is very much on the nose, I enjoyed the journey. Sadly, it has been cancelled.

- While on the topic of dystopias, here is another classic, starring Daveed Diggs. I liked the movie too, and the show takes it to a whole new level, in casting as well as world building. I still don't understand why the survivors of humanity require two train cars of lavender, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief on the altar of story and visuals. Second season coming soon.

Upload - This was the year of utopias and dystopias. Go figure. Upload is kind of Black Mirror Light, with a world where people can be uploaded into a virtual world after their death (for money). There is a love plot, and a lot of very obvious humor. There will be a second season. 

The plot against America - Talking about dystopias, here is a very strong alternative history miniseries from HBO (which may not be very far from our actual timeline). It creates a second world war where the USA elects a German-leaning president, and shows how politically generated discrimination trickles down into the everyday life of people. It is more complex than Man in the high castle. No news about a second season yet.

The Great
- Talking about alternative history: here is one of the lighter kind, about the early years of Catherine the Great. Solid casting, tongue-in-cheek story, grotesque humor. Second season coming up. Huzzah!

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - One of the feel-good surprises of the year. I started it as background noise, but it soon won me over with its upbeat humor and colorful musical numbers. If you want to watch something light, likable, and occasionally tear-jerking, I recommend this one.

Locke & Key - Out of this year's new fantasy shows, this one was probably my favorite. Creepy, trippy, dark, exciting, and obviously based on comics. It has been renewed for two more seasons.

Returning classics

The Mandalorian - Obviously. The second season sustained the well paced, likable, exciting space western we all expect and love. This show is single-handedly dragging the Star Wars Cinematic Universe out of the Sarlacc pit. 

Umbrella Academy - Watched the second season and liked it. The cast is still stellar, the soundtrack is memorable, and the plot was enjoyable too. Looking forward to the third one. 

Better Call Saul
- Even though I'm listing it among the returners, this show is still definitely top 3 for me overall. They can do no wrong. You are all invited to my TED talk about how BCS is much better done than Breaking Bad was. That's the gospel truth. 

Dragon Prince - Still lovable, fun, exciting, and warms the hearts of fans of Avatar and D&D alike. It also showcases how fantasy can get a whole lot better with more diversity. 

Doom Patrol - Talking about lovable: another top 3 for me, with the burnt out superheroes and their found family shenanigans. Anxiously awaiting season 3. Danny The Street For President. 

"Late to the party"
(Older series that I just got around to somehow)

The Boys
- One of my big new faves for this year. I have not read the comics yet, but the show is epic in many ways - casting, humor, message, action. The only problem is that I will never be able to watch a DC movie with a straight face again.
(Who am I kidding, I already can't.)

Cobra Kai - I never thought I'd be a fan of a Karate Kid show out of all things, but this one won me over big time. It is likable, fun, and has a lot of great nods to the original. Third season coming soon. We'll see.

Star Trek: Discovery - My big conversion for this year. The first season, in my opinion, was godawful and unwatchable, and I only started the second because I had nothing better to do. And yet, they managed to turn it around big time: it became coherent and darn likable, and they fixed a lot of the initial mistakes. This whole "big misfit family" thing fits them a lot better than the original plot.

Peaky Blinders - Better late than never. Although I am sure this wretched family will never, ever catch a break, I am looking forward to any upcoming.

Society - One of the fun fairy tale adaptations of the year. A group of teenagers has to rebuild society in an abandoned town, without adults.
(Bonus if you can name the original story.)

Outgoing favorites

- I bid a teary goodbye to High Queen Margo the Destroyer, and her merry band of messed up magicians. Good thing they had enough of a heads up that they could wrap the story very neatly. I already started a rewatch, because the boif has not seen it yet.

The Good Place - This series won a place in my hall of fame with the last season. It was likable, heartwarming, and gave us a lot to think about. A definite candidate for rewatch.

Shame, shame, same

Raised by wolves - I still can't get over WTF this show was meant to be. I have so many questions. Like... did they want to restart humanity with six embryos?... Why did they need a Dad Bot if Mom Bot was just as strong and more useful? And why did they not build a damn fence so humanity could not toddle off and die?... This show is the textbook definition of "you had one job."

Emily in Paris - Emily was the kind of American tourist I really wanted to slap in the face with a bagel. 

Another life - This one was actually pretty fun, especially with the classic sci-fi references, but I have a creeping suspicion that they meant it seriously. 

Cursed - Release Floki back into his natural habitat, you monsters!

Bridgerton - My Facebook friends can't agree whether this show was supposed to be a parody or not. That in itself says it all. The casting is amazing (Polly Walker is still a goddess), too bad they all have to appear in a mediocre bodice-ripping virgin-romance fantasy. 


I wonder how many of my favorites accidentally feature Giancarlo Esposito.

On a more serious note:

What were your favorites this year, and what are you looking forward to in 2021?

1 comment:

  1. I clearly don’t watch as much TV as you do.

    As to outgoing shows:

    Continuing series:
    As you -
    Star Trek - Discovery (though I liked the first season also)
    Umbrella Academy
    Dragon Prince (I’ve only seen the first season, and must continue watching)

    His Dark Materials
    The Crown
    Doctor Who

    New Series:

    Classic binges:
    Warehouse 13

    As to what I’m looking forward to, as you can see more fantasy/ Sci Fi/Comic superhero genre.

    Less on the violence, more on the creative imaginative storylines with cool technology as in Eureka and Warehouse 13.